Climatologists say according to available data India has been warming at the rate of 0.57 degrees Celsius per hundred years. But the heater turned up a few notches in the last decade of the last century (1990s); 1998 was one of the warmest years of the last 100 years and nine out of the 12 months that year were the warmest ever. Well all that is in the past.
What’s worrying scientists now is that they fear warming will be at a faster rate now as a result of climate changes. The annual mean temperatures will warm by 1.4 degree Celsius by 2020. By 2050, rate will be 2.7 degree Celsius.
The future looks fiery. Changing temperature has already started playing havoc with the ecology of many regions and it will only worsen over the coming years. Monsoon, for instance, will become even more generous. Punjab, Haryana and Delhi are already receiving more rainfall that they are known for and reports of flooding in parts of Rajasthan has stopped exciting meteorologists and tourists.
Just a few latitudes down the map of India, states like Orissa get hit by heat waves the likes of which have never been heard of before. The summers of 1998 and 1999 were specially scorching as mercury soared above 50°C.
The impact was tremendous; people just disappeared from the streets and government offices, were closed in the afternoons. The heat wave claimed many lives. Then came the super cyclone in 1999. Expect more of such stormy weather in future, warn global-warming Cassandras.